End of the Year Top 10 List of Doom

What am I counting down? WHAT EVER I WANT TO COUNTDOWN!

10. The Lions Madden Controller was cute, but I couldn’t laugh at it because it misspelled “Weird” as w-i-e-r-d. I understand the “I” before “E” except after “C” should have come into play with this one, but it didn’t.

9. Tim Tebow and the New York Jets… Read: Back-up/3rd string QB and the second fiddle major market team or Publicity Stunt and the Guy who has a foot fetish.

8.Clear Channel is to Radio what Hostess is to the Twinkie.

7.Tomas Holmstrom still hasn’t announced his retirement.

6. Calvin Johnson’s record (Formerly Jerry Rice’s) should be no less respected than Barry’s. Hearing Detroit sports radio callers say it was easier made me wish Clear Channel owned both sports stations in town.

5.When the NHL returns it will be without Nick Lidstrom and you’re still mad he won’t take a hometown discount. Think we can convince him to be motivated play 50 some odd games?

4. Maybe I’ll just take a knee here.

3. Will the NHL or Fiscal Cliff get solved? Which do you think happens first?

2. The Ilitches are still filthy rich. Detroit and its government are just lousy at running a city. (duh)

1. The USA and Canada play Sunday Morning at 4:30am EST on NHL Network and NHL.com, and I plan to wake up/ stay up to watch. Your move lock-out.

0. That’s how many more Piston games I am going to watch this year.

NFL and HGH Testing: The NFL’s next scandal?

Through all the Lions hoopla this weekend, I just came across this tweet by the Lions’ Lawrence Jackson:
 
Lawrence Jackson ‏@LoJackson94: I’ve read a lot about the HGH testing issue with the NFL right now and…they need to go ahead and get started with that…like yesterday.
 
I don’t think it would be ANY surprise if the NFL was found to be deeply rooted with HGH use. Would it change the way you look at the league?
Should they start testing? and is this a matter of players being TOO strong?

Expanding the NFL Playoffs; Not a Bad Thing.

Oh Puh-leez!

The NFL is talking about expanding it’s playoffs and people are pooh-poohing the idea!?

I can understand being against 18 regular season games…but the whole argument about this 14-16 teams watering down the NFL  post-season is a crock.

Yes, PLEASE remind me one more time of the 7-9 Seahawks making the playoffs. You know what nobody seems to bring up after they make that point?  The part where they knocked New Orleans OUT of the playoffs after just getting in.

What about that 11-5 2008 New England Patriots team that missed the playoffs?

You’re telling me the Playoffs might not have been different had they gotten in?

I’m not asking you to feel bad for these teams… and I won’t feel bad if the NFL doesn’t decide to expand it’s playoff perimeters. Just remember that the Seahawks were the exception not the rule, and I am perfectly OK with the Seahawks being in at 7-9 as a division winner. That’s how the NFL was set up. Win your division and you’re in. In fact, unless you win a very bad division, it would be nearly impossible to get in under .500 as a wild card.

If you fear that expanding the playoffs will allow more under .500 teams to get in, let me remind you the very fabric of the NFL is set up to where you’re going to have some very good teams jammed up in the middle of the pack.

In 2011, there were 8 teams that finished 8-8.

In 2010 the Giants and the Buccaneers both went 10-6 and MISSED the playoffs. Meanwhile the Packers DID get in at 10-6 and ended up winning the Superbowl.  In the AFC, the Chargers (9-7),  Raiders (8-8), and Jags (8-8) all missed the playoffs and were at or above .500.

In 2009 The Steelers, Falcons and Texans missed the playoffs at 9-7, and five other teams were 8-8.

The NFL is a pretty even footed league. Year-to-year there might be a couple teams at the top of the heap, but the section in the middle can often include some very talented teams… Teams that often miss the playoffs by a petty tie-breaker.

Adding a couple more middle of the pack teams won’t hurt the top of the heap’s achievements if you format the playoffs correctly, and you’ll have more fan bases tuned into their teams later in the season.

And just making the playoffs shouldn’t be considered an achievement anyhow, and you sure as heck shouldn’t hang a banner for it… (Looking at you Ford Field).

A Truly Dizzying Intellect. (Lions Logic)

I am not usually a gut feeling kind of guy. I don’t ignore my gut, but I generally like to factor in numbers and history before making a prediction.

That just doesn’t feel right this game. HA!

The Lions are not the same old Lions….but this upcoming game with the Packers feels all too familiar.

Heading into the game, word on the street is that the Lions will probably get roasted, and who am I to argue? I ‘m the guy who thought the Packers without Matt Flynn was a lock, once upon a time. Boy did that blow up in my face.

Still, my internal optimism machine built with a Lions logo on it reminds me the Packers are missing significant pieces of their defensive backfield.

Stafford and Johnson could hook up a TON!

How can you pick against the Lions?

Wait!.. is Aaron Rogers still playing?

Hmm… Ya, he’s never been super successful against the Lions. In fact we’ve knocked him around pretty good.

They’ve lost to the Titans, so we know the Lions can’t be very smart.

but they beat up Michael Vick the Eagles, so the Lions must be a little bit strong.

So I can’t pick the Lions, because that’s what you expect me to pick!

But I can’t pick the Packers, because surely you thought I would pick against what I actually wanted to pick, so the pick that I pick can’t be the pick you thought I would pick.

You know what they say, never bet on the Lions when football is involved.

Therefore I pick the Lions, because I’ve spent years building up an immunity to them.

Lions 27, Packers 24.

And because I watched the Princess Bride a couple days ago.

Lions Schedule

This is probably the only Lions post you’ll see here until after the draft.

There are bound to be lots of people going through giving you an early prediction about the Lions record… If you see any of them, tell them they are absurd to do so, and you can tell them I said so. Without the NFL Draft and a single pre-season game it is daffy to even put out such a prediction, because it is bound to change.

Furthermore, making a spectacle out of the release of the schedule is genius. Everybody going crazy over it is proof that we’re all the NFL’s lap dog.

Earlier said I wouldn’t look at the Lions schedule till July, but to be frank it IS a big deal the Lions have been rewarded with some prime time action.

Here is the schedule, knock yourselves out.

Got the schedule from here.

Here is a look at the Lions’ 2012 schedule:

Week 1 – Sept. 9 – vs. St. Louis Rams (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 2 – Sept. 16 – at San Francisco 49ers (8:20 p.m., NBC)
Week 3 – Sept. 23 – at Tennessee Titans (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 4 – Sept. 30 – vs. Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 5 – BYE
Week 6 – Oct. 14 – at Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 7 – Oct. 22 – at Chicago Bears (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Week 8 – Oct. 28 – vs. Seattle Seahawks (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 9 – Nov. 4 – at Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 10 – Nov. 11 – at Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 11 – Nov. 18 – vs. Green Bay Packers (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 12 – Nov. 22 – vs. Houston Texans (12:30 p.m., CBS)
Week 13 – Dec. 2 – vs. Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m., FOX)
Week 14 – Dec. 9 – at Green Bay Packers (8:20 p.m., NBC)
Week 15 – Dec. 16 – at Arizona Cardinals (4:05 p.m., FOX)
Week 16 – Dec. 22 – vs. Atlanta Falcons (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
Week 17 – Dec. 30 – vs. Chicago Bears (1 p.m., FOX)

The most notable games on the Lions’ schedule for 2012 are

Ain’t No Saint: NFL Suspends Sean Payton, Saints Staff

Simon Bruty/SIWell the Saints are an ironically named team, aren’t they?

  • Here is what the  Saints have earned as a punishment as a result of “Bounty Gates.”
  • The New Orleans Saints are fined $500,000 and will lose its 2012 and 2013 second round draft picks.
  • Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended for the year without pay, starting on April 1st. (no draft for him)
  • General Manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular season games of 2012.
  • Current St. Louis Rams and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely. His status will be reviewed at the end of the 2012 season.
  • Saints’ assistant head coach Joe Vitt is barred the first six regular season games of 2012
  • The individuals involved will be expected to  participate in programs that teach respect, fair play, and that bounties are wrong.

I think this sets a great precedent for the league and makes it very clear how the league feels about bounties. Players have gotten less for more (outside the NFL type of stuff, rape, murder, and dog fighting) but this type of stuff puts players on the offensive side of the ball in immediate dangers, and with Peyton Manning coming off a neck injury, there is no way the league wants this kind of stuff endangering players (not saying that Manning is specifically why they made the punishment this harsh).  Major League Baseball should consider this type of thing when a bunch of players connected to one team (cough! Yankees, cough!) get busted for steroids.

Five Things the Lions Will Have to do to Beat the Saints

US Presswire

The NFL Wildcard Playoffs. Is there a better named round of playoffs out there?

For those absolutests out there who clicked on this link just to see what cracked out argument I could possibly make for the Lions upsetting the Saints in the first round, I point you to this box score.

That box score is from last season’s Wild Card playoff where Seattle hosted these same New Orleans Saints, and beat them. That Seahawks team, as I’m sure you remember didn’t even enter the playoffs with a winning record. That Seattle team is no Detroit Lions either.

To be fair, the Saints had to travel to Seattle for that one, and it is said that the Seahawks do have one of the better home field advantages  in the NFL. Still, it wasn’t suppose to happen that way. How could  Seattle beat the high powered Saints?

I’m not basing my entire argument on this game alone, I only bring it up to show it can be done.  If you go back to the box score you’ll notice Seattle only sacked Drew Brees once. A total the Lions will probably need to atleast triple to win. New Orleans looks unbeatable in the dome, but it’s not impossible.

These “keys” are all within reach for the Lions. I’m not asking them to do anything they haven’t shown they can do and can expect nothing less than a shoot out on Saturday.

Below are five things the Lions absolutely HAVE to do to win.

5.  Matt Stafford has to be Matt Stafford:

I am least worried about this one, but the times Stafford has struggled are the times the Lions have looked hapless.  Stafford has had the team on his back (sharing some of the weight with Calvin Johnson of course) all season and has looked nothing but comfortable with it. He came up big in Oakland when the Lions needed that win and he was superb in Green Bay. Sure he threw the interception at the end sealing the brutal loss at Lambeau, and a similar scenario could easily happen in a game with the Saints, but its hard to get down on a guy that threw five TDs for not throwing a sixth. In case you haven’t notice, he’s been a top 5 QB in the league.

4. Guys on offense have to catch the ball:

It’s been easier to overlook this season than in years passed because Detroit did win 10 games, but there have been some absolutely brutal drops from the Lions receivers this season. First on that list is Brandon Pettigrew. Make no mistake about it Pettigrew is a huge part of the Lions “running game,”  so when he drops that wide open dink-n-dunk pass in the middle of the field, its very likely the Lions drive will stall.Despite having a case of the dropsies Pettigrew has been pretty reliable and he is a tough guy for defenses to take down when he makes catches.  Titus Young will be in a tough place to play as a number two rookie receiver. He hasn’t had a huge problem with drops but his emotions got the best of him last time out in the Superdome, so he might feel more pressure than he should coming into this one. Nate Burleson has proved he can catch the ball, but he runs with it so carelessly I worry he’ll fumble just about every time. Kevin Smith has had a hard time catching as of late it seems, so he would be a bonus.

3. Keeping penalty yardage to a minimum:

I am not optimistic on this one but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. Obviously the last time these two teams played the personal foul problem came to a head, and since then it really hasn’t been much of an issue. The penalty issue however, is still there and the Saints are going to get plenty of yardage on their own without the Lions help. Keep it under 50 yards and the Lions can win this game.

2. The secondary need takeaways, and to just be visible on the field:

Alphonso Smith was noticeably the worst player on the defense last week, and lets face it when he has a bad game he does it big (See New England game 2010). He also grabbed an INT for the Lions last week and has been reasonably anonymous the rest of the season (which is a good thing). With Aaron Berry going back on Saturday he’ll see reduced playing time but  Berry hasn’t had an interception thus far.  Normally I would give up interceptions for better coverage and in this case I have to assume they’ll spell one another, but the Lions defense  won’t be able to STOP Drew Brees, so they should be be trying to take the ball away from him.  Nobody stops Drew Brees.

1. The D-Line needs to have an influence on the game:

Heading into the 2011 season, there was talk of giving the defensive line a nick name. At the end of the season I must say there were games where I couldn’t name a player on the D-line that influenced the game. That can’t be the case this week, and I think everybody knows.  The Saints are said to have the best offensive line in the league,  but in the first five games of the season there was talk of the Lions D-line being of a very high caliber too. Well the stats don’t exactly back it up, but this group IS special. If the Lions get pressure on Drew Brees, that increases the odds he makes a mistake or two and that could be all the Lions need to out shoot the Saints in what is destined to be a shoot-out.

All hands are on deck for the playoffs, which means with the deep rotation the Saints O-Line won’t see much of a break. Nick Fairley had a great first half last time out against the Saints, and has basically disappeared since (he did re-injure his foot. Cliff Avril has quietly been the most consistent guy and if he has a stellar playoff he could sack himself into an even bigger payday than he is due. Ndamukong Suh has been a big name in 2011, but it hasn’t really been his play on the field… this could be a big stage for him to change that.